CHEYENNE, Wyo - In our weekly series with Cheyenne Youth Alternatives, we had Ronn Jeffery on this morning. Ronn was talking about how to keep your kids from having nightmares especially around Halloween.
Halloween is coming up at the end of the month and the ghost and goblins will be all over town. Whether it’s a roller coaster ride or a really scary movie....most of us like to be frightened. It’s an adrenalin rush and it physically stimulates us.
Kids also like to be scared but some kids handle it better than others. It is much more difficult for young children to deal with their fears. All of us remember being woken up in the middle of the night by an ear piercing scream when our kids were having a night mare.
It’s common for kids to have nightmares but it’s hard for them to know their not real. They need comforting to go back to sleep. Never embarrass them or make them feel foolish or cowardly for being scared.
It’s always been amazing to me what we see when it’s too dark to see anything. Hopefully the following tips will help parents deal with their children’s nightmares:
-Make the Daytime Less Stressful
Nightmares are usually caused by something that happened during the day. Older kids are better at handling the stress of the day...but younger kids will let it build up until it comes out while their sleeping. Children also have great imaginations and they can turn something they saw on TV or in a video game into something real.
Encourage your child to relax. Brief naps and quiet reading times can be helpful. Try to control your emotions. Kids respond to what they see. Let them see you being relaxed and happy.
- Make Bedtime a Positive Time
Avoid just sending your kids to bed. Try to wind them down with a story or a back rub. Use comforting words when you talk with them.
It’s ok to sit with them if you need to but avoid sleeping with them to often. It may be helpful to leave the door open and a night light on. Remember closets can be scary so keep the closet door closed. Clothes take funny shapes at night.
-Respect Your Child’s Feelings
Keep reminding them the dream is not real. But do it gently! Encourage them to talk about the dream but don’t force them to. You don’t want the discussion to be more scary than the nightmare. Remember that what may seem trivial to an adult may be major to a child. So don’t dismiss any worries they may have.
So Halloween night when the goblins are out haunting the city take a little extra time to tuck your kids in and tell them you love them.